What's Wrong With Democrats For McCloskey
As you probably know, this site’s VPO has endorsed Pete McCloskey in CD-11 and suggested that Democrats re-register for the primary as Decline To State so that they can pull a Republican ballot and vote early and often against Richard Pombo. In this spirit, he recently forwarded an email to the VotePomboOut group which was authored by Peggy Rubin of the San Ramon Valley Democratic Club extolling Pete McCloskey’s virtues. Now, it’s a free country and VPO has the right to register and vote his conscience. But the San Ramon Valley Democratic Club is chartered by the Contra Costa County Democratic Central Committee and, as such, is an adjunct of the Democratic Party supposedly dedicated to building the party’s base throughout the county.
So why does it matter if Democrats in CD-11 support a movement to switch registration just for the primary? Well, for one reason, it’s important to note that many progressive activists within the Democratic Party have seen the Congressional race in CD-11 as an opportunity to capitalize on widespread disgust with Richard Pombo and have dedicated themselves to expanding and solidifying a more unified infrastructure for the party, especially in areas such as San Joaquin County where Democrats have historically been weak. True, Pombo is terrible, but so are many, many other less notorious Republicans in the Central Valley. And without a viable Democratic Party presence in the Valley, the Republicans will continue to rule the roost. So it’s more than a little disheartening to see some people, instead of working to build a strong and vibrant Democratic Party in CD-11, decide that the solution is to abandon the party in support of a charismatic cult of personality.
Peggy Rubin put it this way:
In the 11th Congressional District, common sense tells the majority of voters that in order for Richard Pombo to be ousted from the House of Representatives, Moderate Republicans, Democrats, Independents, “Decline to Staters”, Environmentalists, et al, are going to have to forget the things that divide us and unite at the voting booths this year. One of the most exciting, and important voices preaching the gospel of “Hands across the aisle” is that of Pete McCloskey. Former congressman, attorney, and moderate Republican, Pete said at the Peace Rally in Walnut Creek last Saturday, “I came out of retirement to get Pombo out of office.”
I was inspired by that, and comments from my friend Margee Ensign, who is also a friend of McCloskey, inspired to invite the Honorable Pete McCloskey to be our speaker at the April 27th meeting of the SRVDC. McCloskey is enthusiastic about this effort to “reach across the aisle,” and join forces to take Pombo off the November ballot.
I’m writing to you now to get you, I hope, to invite your uncommitted friends, and the moderate Republicans you know, to set aside the date of April 27th for a historic event in this valley – a Republican candidate for office addressing a Democratic meeting. […]
Margee Ensign will come from Stockton and will urge others to join us. Do what you can to remind everyone that when we Americans face a challenge that affects us all, or our beloved land, we can and do set aside partisan differences to work together.
Well. I’ve seen Pete McCloskey speak on enough occasions to know that he WILL make his pitch at the meeting of the SRVDC for Democrats to re-register so that they can support his candidacy. In an interview with the Tracy Press, McCloskey made his agenda clear:
In the meantime, he thinks he’s got a strategy to beat Pombo. First, he’ll get out the word that Democrats and independents can still switch parties and vote him in.
“It’s called ‘decline to state,’ and it means that people who are registered Democrat or independent can still switch and register to vote in the Republican primary,” explained volunteer Tim Aden, a graduate student at the University of the Pacific.[…]
“We think we can get independents and Democrats to understand that Pombo is out of touch with voters in this community,” McCloskey said. […]
“I’d do anything for Pete McCloskey,” said volunteer Celeste Gore-Schreck, a first-cousin of former presidential candidate Al Gore. “He’s my kind of politics. This is the only time I’ve ever stepped out of party lines.”
McCloskey is hoping that others in the 11th District will follow suit and cross party lines, at least until after the Primary Election on June 6.
And you'd better believe that there are people who hate Pombo so much that they will happily relinquish their rights and responsibilities as Democrats to choose the candidate that their Democratic Party will put forward to challenge Pombo in November.
But let’s talk for a minute about what’s at stake in the other races in the Democratic primary. Of course, there’s the Gubernatorial race at the top of the State ticket with what promises to be a nail-biter between Phil Angelides and Steve Westly. At the Lieutenant Governor level, we have Democrats Liz Figueroa, Jackie Speier, and John Garamendi vying for the same spot. Then there’s the race for Secretary of State, an office that is critically important if you’re even a little worried about the integrity of our entire voting process. And with vacancies at Attorney General, Treasurer, State Controller, Insurance Commissioner, and even the State Board of Equalization, it is vital to nominate strong Democrats who can go on to win these important offices in November.
Then there’s the State Legislature. SD-10 (Pleasanton and Sunol) has a hotly contested three-way race between Ellen Corbett, John Dutra and Johan Klehs. AD-10 (Lodi and a portion of Stockton) has two Democrats, Jim Cook and Kevin Tate, running; AD-17 (Tracy and a portion of Stockton) has a two-way race between Cathleen Gagliani and William Sweet; AD-18 (Dublin and part of Pleasanton) has a real scorcher with the race between Mary Hayashi and Bill McCammon; and AD-20 (Sunol and part of Pleasanton) has a race between Alberto Torrico and Ken Nishimura. Democratic candidates are running unopposed in the primary in SD-14 (Lodi, Linden, and Escalon), AD-15 (Brentwood, Discovery Bay, Danville, San Ramon and part of Stockton), AD-26 (Manteca, Escalon, Ripon, Linden, and a portion of Stockton) and AD-27 (Morgan Hill).
So to re-cap, in the November general election the Democratic Party in CD-11 will not have just one candidate running for Congress, but candidates for virtually every position in our State government, from the entire executive branch down through two State Senators and seven State Assembly members. At a time when we desperately need to unite and build a party that can offer strong support to its chosen candidates, how could you possibly claim to be Democratic leader and simultaneously encourage Democrats to abandon their party?